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U.S., Qatari leaders discuss Syria

English.news.cn   2013-04-24 07:34:05            

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Tuesday discussed Syria, Egypt, the Middle East peace process and Afghanistan, acknowledging them being "very difficult issues" that cannot be solved overnight.

The protracted conflict in Syria, now in its third year with over 70,000 deaths so far, dominated the meeting at the White House, as the two leaders pledged to seek a peaceful resolution.

"I'm very pleased that we are going to be continuing to work in coming months to try to further support the Syrian opposition, and we'll be closely coordinating our strategies to bring about a more peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis," the president told reporters after the meeting.

The emir called the Syrian conflict a "major, horrific tragedy, " saying he and Obama hope to find a solution for a political transition in the Arab country.

"And we hope that any party that succeeds the current regime would be supportive of democracy and the political process," the emir added.

Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, has been sending weapons to the opposition forces in Syria. The Obama administration has refused to offer lethal aid as of now, fearful of weapons falling into the hands of Islamist militants among the rebels.

Following a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Washington would double its non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition to 250 million dollars, expected to include armored vehicles, body armor and night vision goggles.

As to the transition underway in Egypt, Obama said he and the emir "very much" want to see the country achieve success.

Reiterating his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, Obama said he exchanged ideas with the emir about "how we can advance those negotiations."

"And I've shared the importance of providing support to President (Mahmoud) Abbas and the Palestinian Authority so that they can be in position to have fruitful negotiations with the Israelis that can bring about, in a timely fashion, a two-state solution," as the Palestinian Authority is experiencing severe financial constraints, Obama noted. "For Qatar, it's very important for us to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and to see also a good relationship between Arab countries and Israel once a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement is reached," the emir said.

Obama thanked the emir for his efforts in promoting dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban "that might potentially result in some sort of political reconciliation."

Qatar has allowed the Taliban to open an office in the country.

Obama met in recent days with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. He has scheduled separate meetings with king of Jordan and prime minister of Turkey at the White House in April and May.

Editor: Luan
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